No Longer Made In America

I don’t know why I am drawn to abandoned places.

I’ve had a curiosity about them as long as I can remember. There is a strong sense that time stands still in these structures. A moment of time freezes a once-thriving place of business that has become no longer useful.

Some are incredibly beautiful pieces of architecture. Once crafted by careful hands — now broken, unused, open to the elements. All around where I live these buildings and remnants of buildings have become a continuing subject of my photography. Once a thriving center for manufacturing, north central Massachusetts along Route 2 is dotted with these abandoned mills.

Unfortunately my photo subjects are not unique. All over the country, formerly vital manufacturing plants lie unused and decaying. Businesses that gave entire generations a secure and prosperous living are now empty, slowly decaying, awaiting the wrecking ball.

This is progress? Where we once took pride in craftsmen working with their hands, creating beautiful furniture, toys, and other useful objects from locally harvested lumber, we now look only for “bargains.” Which turn out to mean the joyless products of unskilled laborers in desperately poor countries.

The cost of doing business? I’d say it’s the walmarting of our whole heritage.

It is my hope that collectively we can raise awareness of this phenomenon, which has torn and is tearing at the fabric of our communities. Because the damage goes beyond empty windows and eroded facades. It’s visible in the worn-out faces of our people. No longer useful, craftsmen and craftswomen fade into the background, like these empty mills. Their ability to create fine furniture no longer considered useful, they must find employment (if any) wherever they can. Like the tools they once used, and the mills they once worked in … fading away, soon to be lost forever.


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